About Time

discs cutie and the boxer

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Cutie and the Boxer Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko have been together for 45 years, but it hasn’t been the easiest of roads. He was a 41 year old art sensation in NYC when the 19-year-old art student met and fell in love with him, and while the time since has seen them struggle and live the life of starving artists, he has always remained at the top of the relationship. This doc looks at the couple, their love and art, and the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary in pursuit of your dreams. Zachary Heinzerling‘s intimate documentary began life focused on Ushio’s life and art, but somewhere along the line, Noriko’s story, both of her art and of her love for her husband, took over the narrative. The result is not only a fascinating look at two artists’ lives but also an incredibly honest exploration of the cost of love, creativity, and persistence. Ushio is a real character, but Noriko is a real person. I’m now in love with a 64-year-old Japanese woman. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]

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2013review_music

This year brought moviegoers an array of music that ranged from uplifting (About Time “How Long Will I Love You”) to depressing (The Great Gatsby‘s “Young and Beautiful”) to catchy (Inside Llewyn Davis‘ “Please Mr. Kennedy”) to nostalgic (Saving Mr. Banks‘ “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) to just plain out there (Spring Breakers‘ “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”). Whether it was a film about throwing (or attending) the best party of your life or one about intense family drama, the music pushed stories to new heights, whether it was an Alien rapping on the beach or two mothers pushing their children to the breaking point. Film music is no longer just orchestration and catchy pop songs – it is dubstep and bands you would normally hear on the radio taking to the conductor’s stand. Simply put – it is an exciting time for music in film because there are no rules. Now it’s time to relive some of the best music moments from this past year with scores from composers new to the scene and those continuing to churn out groundbreaking music, as well as soundtracks that featured songs from bands and artists who discovered new talents while collaborating.

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About Time

Romantic comedy fans have long been starving for satisfying genre fare to hit the box office, all the Valentine’s Days and New Year’s Eves and Arbor Days (surely, the next one, right?) notwithstanding, and it’s long seemed as if the When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail glory days (we loved Nora Ephron, what can we say?) were far gone. Yet, with Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis finally returning to the sort of films he excels at crafting, it’s perhaps a bit early to consider the entire genre dead. Maybe it’s just sleeping. Curtis’ About Time certainly comes with an enviable pedigree (any film that features Curtis directing Bill Nighy is cause to celebrate), but it’s the film’s charming cast and cleverly tangled plot conceit that keeps it ticking right along. About Time centers on hapless young Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, who is utterly adorable in every frame of the film), a sweet guy who has never been very lucky in love. Tim’s been lucky elsewhere, however, as he had an exceedingly idyllic childhood in the arms of his “sturdy” mother Mary (Lindsay Duncan), deeply bookish dad (Nighy), heartbreakingly sweet Uncle Desmond (Richard Cordery), and whimsical sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson) and he’s soon to embark on an exciting (well, somewhat) legal career in London. Before all that, however, he’s got some time to kill at his family home, and it’s only after one of his family’s rip-roaring New Year’s Eve parties that dear old dad shares an […]

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Earlier this week, Variety chief film critic Justin Chang wrote about time travel romance films in response to the new Richard Curtis movie, About Time. It’s a fair reading of the genre, focusing narrowly on Somewhere In Time, The Lake House and The Time Traveler’s Wife (which like About Time stars Rachel McAdams). These are all cinematic equivalents of the time travel romance novel (two are actually adaptations), of which there are hundreds of examples, and they’re all pretty sappy, whether they have sad or happy endings. Of course, they’re concentrated on not only love stories, but ones putting the ideas of destiny and its obstacles to the extreme of temporal distance. So either concluding in a final parting (death) or union (finally getting together forever), there’s going to be a great sentimental power breaking through the tension at the end, a power that probably leaves its audience in need of a tissue. But those four movies, including the latest, hardly represent the full extent of time travel romance in the movies. It’s just that most of the others are concentrated on the time travel narratives over the romantic. Still, they feel the need for those love interests, and the love story elements are always very interesting given the plots. See some notable examples below.

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Dead On Time

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. He’s only directed three films, including the new sci-fi rom-com About Time, but Richard Curtis has been a well-known screenwriter for a few decades. When we think of a Curtis movie, we don’t just consider his popular directorial debut, Love Actually (and nobody here thinks of Pirate Radio, aka The Boat That Rocked). We think of Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He also wrote The Girl in the Cafe and one of the best episodes of Doctor Who (“Vincent and the Doctor”), and he co-scripted Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel, as well as War Horse. Plus he co-created Blackadder and Mr. Bean, both with regular collaborator Rowan Atkinson. Curtis and Atkinson met at Oxford through the famed Experimental Theatre Club before breaking out as members of the legendary Oxford Revue. Quickly they got into radio and TV comedy, and while they were beginning work on the first series of Blackadder (then The Black Adder) they also made their first film together, Dead On Time. Directed by Lyndall Hobbs (who went on to direct Back to the Beach and no films since), it’s a very smart and very funny take on an easy, familiar premise with an easy, familiar endpoint. Atkinson plays a man who is told he has only half an hour to […]

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nighy

Bill Nighy is a chameleon. He’s an actor who can go large and then, as we see in his new film, About Time, craft an effortlessly grounded performance when needed. When Nighy discusses the idea of a performance without thinking about “acting,” it makes for an interesting contrast to his work as Davy Jones. The Pirates of the Caribbean villain is a job that consistently reminds you you’re acting with the tech involved. Wearing those dots on your face and that mo-cap suit probably can’t make your job any easier, and yet Nighy still managed to bring gravitas to Jones and that series as a whole. There is no transformation in About Time, which, to some actors, is an even loftier challenge. But it’s a task Nighy seems up for any day of the week, especially if it’s Richard Curtis behind the camera. Speaking with Nighy, his fondness for Curtis rang loud and clear. Not only that, Nighy stressed an important little detail for all the young actors out there. Read on to find out about Nighy’s discovery:

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curtis

Love Actually is one of the most beloved romantic comedies of all the time. That film is only ten years old, but it’s already fair to claim the film is a classic. Initially the web of down-to-earth love stories didn’t receive uniformly stellar reviews or massive box office numbers, but what kind of madman doesn’t watch it when it’s on cable or come Christmas time? That wasn’t a shabby way to kickoff the directorial chapter to an already successful career. By 2003, Curtis had written Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Notting Hill, so he was no romantic comedy rookie when he hit it big behind the camera. Since then, he’s directed two films with The Boat That Rocked and his latest, About Time. The time travel dramedy is about life, love, sorrow, children, and (unsurprising if you follow Curtis’ work) most everyday facets of life. The movie feels like a swan song for Richard Curtis, who is retiring from filmmaking. Speaking with Curtis at the press day for About Time, the writer/director discussed his reasons for retirement. Here’s what he had to say:

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Ender

The first weekend of November is hallmarked by a continuing wave of prestigious Oscar contenders and pockmarked by the chaff that studios are still dumping into a handful of contractually obligated theaters. How else do you explain Last Vegas and Dallas Buyers Club landing on the same week? Beyond those we’ve got a boy vying to be the last starfighter, a pair of biopics that look difficult to swallow and a ton of limited releases that show promise. Get up off your knees, reach for the stars, and check out the trailer-ized list of movies coming out this weekend.

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About Time

What if your dad said that you could travel through time? Would you believe him? Would you be hesitant? Would you have him hauled away to a mental institution? About Time shoots for the middle ground between those first two, and builds a very Groundhog Day-esque romantic comedy on the idea that time travel is in fact a real thing. Watch a new international trailer for the film below (although be advised there’s a smidgeon of salty language in there).

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About Time

Do you feel it in your fingers? Do you feel it in your toes? Love, Actually writer/director Richard Curtis has a new science-fiction romantic comedy on the horizon. And so the feeling grows. In About Time, a young man (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men of their family have the ability to travel in time. Naturally, he sets upon using the incredible talent to get lucky Daft Punk-style and sets out to woo a young lady played by Rachel McAdams. There’s a touch of Groundhog Day here, what with the opportunity to call Mulligan and redo specific moments in time, and knowing Curtis’ strengths as a storyteller, it may turn out just as rich and lively. He’s never been one for the surface-level gimmick, and the trailer tilts in that direction (while adhering to the strange rule that McAdams has to run around in her underwear for at least one trailer-bound scene):

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In what sounds like a very cool (schmoopy romance can be cool right?) project, Richard Curtis is writing and directing About Time – a story focusing on a young man named Tim who finds out that he’s one in a long line of time travelers. That comes with some impressive powers, no doubt. Groundhog Day-like powers. Or the ability to go back and make sure Hitler wasn’t born or something important like knowing all the right questions in class or on dates. According to Variety, the production is looking at Zooey Deschanel as the leading love interest which means the costume department will be searching on ModCloth and she’ll get to sing a song. While we all fall in love with her manic big-eyed dreamgirlness. Right now, Tim the Time Traveler is being played by Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in Harry Potter, Shadow Dancer and Anna Karenina). All in all, it sounds like a potentially large-hearted project with a sci-fi conceit hiding somewhere in the atria. Plus, Gleeson is a presence with range who is beginning to come into his own after the massive wand-wielding franchise, and even though New Girl is solid comedy work, it’s about time Deschanel returned to film.

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